(The Sports Xchange) - Shea Weber and Craig Smith scored in the second period to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the second game of their Stanley Cup Western Conference quarterfinal series Sunday night in front of a sellout crowd of 17,174 at the Honda Center.
Mattias Ekholm added a goal, Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each contributed two assists and goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for the Predators, who take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The third and fourth games will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night and Thursday night, respectively.
Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson scored for the Ducks, who killed four of five penalties while receiving 24 saves from goalie John Gibson.
The Predators never held a 2-0 lead in any of their previous 11 playoff series dating from 2004. The Ducks have never won a playoff series after losing the first two games.
Smith broke a 1-1 tie at 9:55 of the second period. Roman Josi intercepted a pass from Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm near the right corner and sent the puck to Filip Forsberg behind the net. Forsberg quickly passed to Smith, who dragged wrist shot into the upper-left corner of the net for his third career playoff goal in his 10th playoff game.
Weber extended the Predators’ lead with 38.8 seconds remaining in the period on a power play. With nine seconds left on David Perron’s penalty, Weber one-timed a slap shot from the left point.
Thompson drew Anaheim within one goal by shoveling a backhanded shot from the top of the slot with 2:42 to play.
Before Cogliano began the scoring, Anaheim played short-handed for four minutes in a span of 4 minutes, 30 seconds early in the first period. Corey Perry went to the penalty box for hooking at 7:16, then 30 seconds after his teammates defused that situation, Perry returned to serve an interference penalty at 9:46.
But Nashville managed only two total shots during both power plays.
Cogliano gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 14:20 of the period. Weber tried to pass the puck from the left boards in the neutral zone but Cogliano intercepted the pass, went on a breakaway and deposited the puck between Rinne’s legs for his first goal of the playoffs.
Nashville responded with 55.4 seconds left in the period, when Ekholm tied the score with his first goal. Colin Wilson dug the puck out from the left corner and passed to Ekholm, whose backhanded shot in front of the crease deflected off Gibson’s right forearm.